By Martin Kelly
First Minister Alex Salmond has called on the owners of the Grangemouth refinery to “fire up the plant” and resume production.
Mr Salmond also urged the union Unite to commit to no strike action up until Christmas.
The First Minister met with both sides of an increasingly bad tempered dispute in an attempt at encouraging the warring factions to reach a compromise.
Mr Salmond has called for Unite to swiftly confirm in writing their willingness to provide a guaranteed period of normal working to 31 December 2013 at the plant.
He further called on INEOS to fulfil their parallel commitment to fire up the plant and return to normal production. This will provide the right atmosphere for the necessary consultations and negotiations to build a secure future for this crucial facility.
The First Minister said: “From my discussions tonight with both parties in this dispute I believe both are sincerely committed to create a great future for Grangemouth. I believe that whilst there will be a long way to go, I believe that acceptance of my proposal tonight would be an essential first step in this process.”
The dispute has led to the plant being shut down by the owners who claimed they could not risk the union going back on their decision to back away from industrial action. However Unite accused the company of having planned the move in an attempt at forcing workers to accept draconian changes to their contracts.
The row took a further twist when local Labour MP Michael Connarty openly accused the UK Government of colluding with Ineos in order to weaken the resolve of the plant workers.
Mr Connarty, speaking in the House of Commons, called for a debate into what he claimed was “collusion” on the part of the Tory/Lib Dem coalition. The Labour MP accused the UK Government of having helped Ineos, “store up supplies” in order to help break the workers.
[Newsnet Scotland relies heavily on the generosity of its readers in order to exist. We are grateful for each and every donation and would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have placed their trust in us. We would encourage those who can to please donate in order to ensure we continue to provide an alternative news service that is now enjoyed by over 100,000 people each and every month.]